THOUSANDS of Southampton children filled their bellies with a feast reflecting the city's culture.

The city is celebrating after lodging its final written bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, with the shortlist announcement expected next week.

To mark this stage of the competition, Southampton’s BBC Masterchef winner and SO25 UK City of Culture chair, Shelina Permalloo, teamed up with City Catering, to produce a unique lunch menu for 7,000 school children.

She cooked up a delicious Mauritian curry and Afghani rice with a pineapple cake for pudding, which was served up at St John's Primary School in French Street.

Daily Echo:

Shelina said: "I've done a real diverse menu with different flavours from across the city.

"We are an incredibly diverse city so I've done an Afghani pilau with carrots and raisins and a Mauritian curry, which is my heritage, and a pineapple cake with custard.

"I think when you come into schools and you actually look at the kids, this is the generation we want to impact.

"We really want to change the city for them and make this city something to be completely proud of."

Daily Echo:

Southampton is now in the final eight cities competing to win the title of UK City of Culture 2025.

If successful in reaching the final four, Southampton will be visited by a panel of judges in early May.

Martin Orman, deputy CEO of City Catering, added: “City Catering is proud to support the SO25 bid by cooking and serving Shelina's unique school lunch menu.

"As a local charity, which has been serving up school meals to Southampton’s young people for over two decades, as well as Meals on Wheels to our vulnerable and elderly residents, we see the power that our varied communities bring to our city every day."

The official short film for Southampton’s City of Culture bid was published last week.

If the city is successful in winning the culture crown three days of festivities will see tens of thousands of people celebrate in May 2025.

Vessels will be invited from around the world to join a floating stage - with a giant circus show from creative producers Crying Out Loud.

Among the festivities planned if the bid is successful, there will be an opportunity to get out onto the water as part of a community day in partnership with Southampton’s International Boat Show.